Last year I made a decision to pursue a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). I applied to an online MBA program. I had to get my Australian bachelor’s degree evaluated for United States equivalency. It turns out that because an Australian bachelor’s degree is a three year program, the US only recognizes it as 3 years of undergraduate study, and not equivalent to a US bachelor’s. So I won’t be able to start my MBA right away. It’s a setback, but it has inspired me. Somewhere along the line I figured out how to handle setbacks like this one.
I felt wounded and cheated at first, like my degree was meaningless. It didn’t help that a course advisor tried to question the value of my degree: ‘how is creative writing going to help you in business?’ I gave her a quick retort that it’s an essential skill. Storytelling is invaluable to managers and leaders to communicate their vision and engage their team. The course advisor also said, incorrectly, that ‘a liberal arts degree is more like a community college associates’.
Out of frustration I started to plot a new course to the MBA. I could go to a liberal arts college, and complete the fourth year to earn a US bachelor’s. I could put off further study for now, and concentrate on professional certificates. I could even start a whole new bachelor’s degree. Having to plot this new course made me reconsider my goal: how badly do I want an MBA? I know I want to study something, but not precisely what, or how the MBA translates to my future happiness. Another big question came up, of where I should pursue my studies: here in the US or abroad?
I found myself once again realizing that I can do anything I want, I just have to do it. I’m finding my drive again, to set things in motion to make serious advances in my life. A big part of that is surfing, and another is studying and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The third thing I’m going to do is write.
Inveniam viam aut faciam.
I will find a way or make one.
Last night I said goodbye to Mum and Dad. I won’t see them in person again, until one of us makes the trip across the Pacific. It’s my last four days in Canada.
Most people my age (in Australia at least) have a few popular growing up trajectories. You finish high school, go to university or learn a trade, or maybe take a year to work full time or travel, start working, and move out. I know people still living at home, and some who moved out years ago. Working hoildays overseas are a well known option for people my age. If you do one or any of these things, most people you meet will have something to say about it. They will probably know someone who has done the same thing.
Imagine the time when there was nothing but rough bush and wilderness. People started exploring and cutting tracks through the bush. They migrated. The next traveller could follow the tracks of the trailblazer before him. Eventually we turned these tracks into roads, which became modern highways connecting cities. It’s the same thing with the trajectories described above. Growing up in Australia is about following the modernised highways and roads: study, work, move out.
It adds up to a very particular definition of success. Everyone goes about it their own individual way, studying different things, mixing up the order of achievement, changing jobs, and so on. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with that approach to life. It feels like ticking off achievements on a generic list. I’ve lived it that way so far. I’ve studied, worked, and travelled. I’ve been on the well worn path to someone else’s idea of success.
I’m not just leaving the nest to pursue common perceptions of success. I’m carving out my own future. I’m not just mixing up the sequence, I’m creating new opportunities to gather experiences. It doesn’t matter if I’m working, studying, or travelling on this adventure. What matters is that it’s my adventure, and that I’m not bound to the generic definitions of success.
I’ve been thinking about the decision ahead: what path I might take in America. Work, study, or travel? At this moment I’m still not sure what I could end up doing. I know I’ve had a good head start, and that I’m ready to figure it out on my own.